Asher was just another big black dog in a high-kill Los Angeles shelter five years ago, when, suddenly, his luck changed. Asher’s story is the backdrop for an evocative new black and white PSA where Kristin Bauer van Straten, star of HBO’s “True Blood,” challenges the myth that shelter animals are somehow damaged.

Kristin Bauer and Asher
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And it just so happens that Asher is Bauer van Straten’s dog.

Video: Kristin Bauer van Straten for No-Kill Los Angeles

Produced by powerhouse Los Angeles advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day for NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles), a life-saving initiative of Best Friends Animal Society, the dramatic 30 and 60-second spots beautifully illustrate the duo’s close bond.

“I’ve been living with this guy for five years and we have this connection,” the actress says. “I could not face the possibility of not living with him or not having him be my friend.”

Bauer van Straten, for years a passionate supporter of Best Friends Animal Society, filmed the spot to highlight the homeless pet issue in her adopted home-town and to raise awareness of NKLA’s goal to transform Los Angeles into a no-kill city by 2017.

“I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 19 years. I’ve volunteered at the shelters. I live with four animals that were rescued from shelters. No Kill L.A. is a high goal, but a goal we must strive toward,” Bauer van Straten says. “There are more than enough homes. We can live in a No Kill Los Angeles.”

The message of adopting shelter pets is vital to the success of NKLA, a coalition of more than 60 animal welfare organizations, city shelters and passionate individuals. The Bauer van Straten PSA is one component of the broader NKLA campaign, which features larger than life images of L.A.’s homeless pets plus the edgy NKLA logo on billboards around the city.

NKLA is dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in L.A. shelters by providing spay/neuter services where they are needed most, which reduces the number of animals going into shelters while increasing adoptions. Through the combined efforts of the NKLA coalition organizations, a new NKLA Pet Adoption Center is scheduled to open in Los Angeles in early August.

“The NKLA initiative is poised to serve as a model for how the entire nation can become no-kill, with no healthy or treatable pet ever having to die in a shelter again for simply being unwanted,” says Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends Animal Society’s office in Los Angeles. “Together we can save them all.”

Coalition members include Found Animals Foundation, Kitten Rescue, Stray Cat Alliance, Downtown Dog Rescue, FixNation, Karma Rescue, and Best Friends Animal Society. In 2012, the coalition’s first year of existence, city shelter deaths decreased 12 months in a row, culminating in 4,200 fewer animals killed than in the year prior. Also in 2012, the NKLA Coalition facilitated 23,421 adoptions and 4,458 spay/neuter surgeries were performed.

“Still, last year, more than 13,000 healthy, treatable companion animals were killed in city shelters,” says Peralta. “Each one was an individual and a loving pet. That number can and should be zero. There is a solution, but only if the people who care about animals work together to make it happen. We invite the community to join us and help turn L.A. into NKLA.”

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